UNION, NJ – As a member of the East Franklin Volunteer Fire Company, Firefighter Kevin Apuzzio, 21, lost his life on April 11, 2006 while attempting to rescue a trapped Franklin Township resident from her burning home. Apuzzio was a Union resident, a firefighter and a hero.
On the 10th anniversary of his death, several remembrances took place with his family, friends and fellow firefighters. A Mass was held at St. Michael’s Church in Union on Monday morning, where Union County Sheriff Joseph Cryan presented a Resolution to family members, followed by a visit to Mt. Olive Cemetery in Newark. Later that evening, family and friends joined the East Franklin Volunteer Fire Company for a celebration of Apuzzio’s life and dedication to service. On Tuesday evening, Mayor Figueiredo and the Township Committee presented a resolution to the family on behalf of the Township of Union.
Apuzzio was born and raised in Union; his family continues to be active members of the community. Apuzzio began his emergency services career at the age of 16. He chose to devote his free time to helping his community. He became a member of the Union Emergency Medical Unit. When Apuzzio moved to New Brunswick to attend Rutgers University to study criminal justice, he obtained his Firefighter 1 Certification. Apuzzio became a certified CPR instructor and actively participated in anything that would benefit the community.
Apuzzio was thinking of becoming a New York City police officer and was awaiting the results of his test when he died in the line of duty. He had achieved an almost perfect score on his written exam.
“Kevin personified the best of Rutgers students: Hard work, community involvement and a desire to help others,” said Rutgers President Richard L. McCormick at the time. The Kevin Apuzzio Training Center is located within the year-old Rutgers Public Safety Building on Commercial Avenue in New Brunswick. “We use this training center to prepare public safety personnel to serve and protect our community. It is only fitting that it bear Kevin’s name."
Apuzzio received a posthumous degree from Livingston College in May 2006. Those who knew him said he had a quick wit, charm and a great smile. His personality put people at ease. He loved to tell stories about his day-to-day adventures.
The resolution presented to the family concludes: “Kevin A. Apuzzio. May he never be forgotten”.